04 May

Working towards the green Data Centre

Posted by Alexandra Hayward

With the amount of energy now required to power the world’s data centres, the consumption policies and strategies surrounding them are becoming rather critical to organisations hoping to achieve sustainability and remain competitive.

A report released last week by 451 Research reveals how the renewable-powered data centre is becoming more commonplace, demonstrating major strides towards the use of green data centres and the challenges still to overcome.

The report, Energizing renewable-powered data centres, notes that global power demand for data centres grew to an estimated 40 gigawatts in 2013, an increase of seven per cent over 2012. This figure is expected to rise year-on-year, along with greenhouse gas emissions from data centres.

The Global e-Sustainability Initiatives Smarter 2020 report  puts IT-related carbon emissions at about two per cent of total global emissions, and data centres will be the fastest-growing part of the global IT sector energy footprint, with demands increasing 81 per cent by 2020.

Rodney Gedda, senior analyst with Telsyte, tells CIO that data centres, like cars, can probably never be 100 per cent ‘green’, but we can certainly reduce their environmental impact dramatically.

“That translates through to everything from the construction and design of the data centre to the environmental management needs inside a data centre,” Gedda says.

Leading the way

The average data centre is only expected to derive a small percentage of its required energy from renewable sources, but today we see a handful of large players finally starting to skew that trend. The likes of Apple, eBay and Google claim to already be seeing financial, sustainability and availability benefits from increasing the proportion of energy they use from renewables.

The 451 Research report shows a number of operators have adopted data centre designs that rely on, and even make a virtue of, on-site renewable or low-carbon generation.